UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for preventing further escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war and giving peace "a chance".
"We must prevent further escalation," he told a Security Council high-level meeting on Ukraine, which was convened on the first anniversary of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and attended by about 30 foreign ministers and diplomats, Xinhua news agency reported.
"We must all encourage every meaningful effort to end the bloodshed and, at long last, give peace a chance," said Guterres.
Noting the Security Council has held more than 40 debates on Ukraine over the past year, he said that "the guns are talking now, but in the end we all know that the path of diplomacy and accountability is the road to a just and sustainable peace."
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"Protection of civilians must remain the top priority," Guterres stressed, also calling for actions to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, invest in Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction, as well as to avoid nuclear risks.
He gave an update on the progress made under the Black Sea Grain Initiative and renewed calls for the deal's extension.
On July 22, 2022, Russia and Ukraine separately signed a document in Istanbul with Turkey and the United Nations on grain and fertiliser exports from Ukraine and Russia to ensure supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict.
The deal, due to expire on November 19, 2022, was extended for another 120 days.
Under the deal, more than 20 million metric tons of foodstuffs have now been safely reconnected to global supply chains on more than 700 ships, helping to bring down prices around the world, Guterres said.
"I want to underscore the importance of all parties remaining engaged in this initiative, and reiterate our call for it to be extended beyond March 2023," he said.
Guterres added that the United Nations is firmly committed to working to remove remaining obstacles to Russian food and fertiliser exports, including ammonia.
These efforts demonstrated that international cooperation is essential, valuable and possible, "even in the midst of conflict", the UN chief said.